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Retail sales data easily beat expectations this morning, rising 1.7% in March, where only a 0.5% rise had been expected. The news has sent GBP/USD racing higher, and it now looks as if the $1.68 level is an immediate possibility.
Sales volumes hit 1.6% in February, the highest level since August, with supermarkets contributing more than half the growth. The data suggests the British economy is heading in the right direction, especially when taken together with the good growth forecasts and the expectation that the economy will pass its pre-crisis peak this summer. The general tone of the market is shifting towards a rate rise earlier in 2015 than previously thought.
As GBP/USD moves up this morning, the first resistance level is the mid-March high of $1.6650. If this is broken, then we are looking at a retest of the $1.6750 area. We saw a retest of the 100-day moving average early this week, but since then we have moved above this. This morning’s rise puts the currency pair above the 50-DMA as well. Overall the move for the cable is firmly bullish, especially if expectations of a rate increase by the Bank of England in 2015 build further.